Introduction to
An Anthology of Bay Area Women Writers,
Part 1

by Katherine Hastings


Recently, a journal that ran one of my book reviews featured poets from the San Francisco Bay Area. There were many fine poets included in this volume. The editor had pulled together an interesting collection of voices and styles. And yet there was something missing, as there often is in journals and anthologies: the poetry of women. I had an opportunity to ask the editor in person about his selection and why there weren't more women included. He gave me a puzzled look and said he would have liked to include more women, but "Where are they?" It was a sincere question. My answer to him was "everywhere."

How does one, within just a few weeks' time, collect a representative amount of work from the enormous expanse of strong poetry written by women in the San Francisco Bay Area? One doesn't. The time and space required to pull off such a task would take months, if not years. Let me offer what I can at this particular moment in time.

In this special feature of Big Bridge you'll find a great range in writing styles. There are free verse and haiku and powerful experimental works -- including, but not limited to, experimentation in the sense of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E writing. Side by side, you will find names familiar and unfamiliar. Judy Grahn, Susan Griffin, Sharon Doubiago, Leslie Scalapino and other well-established poets have contributed fascinating work, as have Mary-Marcia Casoly, Maw Shein Win, others. All of these fine women poets are from San Francisco, the East Bay, the South Bay and the North Bay. Enjoy them. There are hundreds more where they came from.